Photo credit – Kristine Heykants.
Shannon Gibney is an award-winning author of books of all kinds — from novels to anthologies to essays to picture books. She writes for adults, children, and everyone in-between .
The through-line in all her work is stories that may have previously gone untold. Sometimes these perspectives have remained hidden because the speakers have not had an outlet for their stories; other times, the stories carry darkness and fear that we prefer to look away from.
The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be (Dutton, 2023), exemplifies this approach, as does Gibney’s novel, Dream Country (Dutton, 2018), which Kirkus describes as “a necessary reckoning of tensions within the African diaspora — an introduction to its brokenness and a place to start healing.”
Shannon’s books and writings have received many awards, and are taught in schools and communities around the country. She is a professor of English at Minneapolis College, where for over fifteen years she has worked with refugees, ex-offenders, international and in-country immigrants, indigenous and communities of color, and students from all walks of life to tell their stories and achieve their academic and professional goals. She was recently named one of three Educators of the Year in the entire Minnesota State system for this work.
Shannon identifies as a transracial adoptee, and was adopted by white parents in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1975. She writes and speaks extensively about transracial adoption in her creative and scholarly work, and of the intersection of race, gender, class, family, power, and identity. This experience has informed all her work with and about historically and newly marginalized communities.
Recent keynotes include the “Keeping Our Faculty: Recruiting, Retaining, and Advancing American Indian and Faculty of Color” conference and the “Minnesota Writing and English” conference. She regularly teaches courses on writing craft at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and has done workshops, readings, and residencies at schools ranging from Albion College, St. Catherine University, the University of Minnesota, Winona State University, Minneapolis Public Schools, Hennepin County Libraries, Ramsey County Libraries, and many others.